Let me start by saying the sincerest “Thank You” to all of you. Thank you for showing up each day to serve our students and families. Thank you for continuing to give even if you are drained and empty. Thank you for fighting for and supporting our vulnerable students and families. Thank you for sitting with that student who needed to be seen and heard. Thank you for speaking the harder truths in meetings, even if it was unpopular. Thank you so much for your service as a school psychologist, especially over this past year.
As many of you know from our last newsletter, our board is more committed than ever to promote and practice social justice. The horrific and immensely offensive violent assaults on the Capitol left me speechless and underscore that the time is now for each and every one of us to create change. For those who have not read NASP’s statement on the assault, I wanted to share part of it that resonates deeply.
As educators, parents, and caregivers, we have a critical responsibility to help our children and youth understand and process these events in ways that are both truthful and focused on their personal safety, security, honest reflection, and a belief that positive change is possible.
Many truths are entangled in the events that transpired on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. The consequences of allowing widespread dissemination of—and action based on—lies rather than facts. The swift and harmful outcomes of mob mentality resulting in death and injury to multiple individuals. The destructive nature of hate and violence. The subversive results of failed leadership. The chaos wrought when our critical systems fail.
Yet underlying these events, there is no more glaring truth than the role of White supremacy and racism in driving all of the above. The evidence was everywhere: From the disgraceful display of the Confederate flag in the Capitol building and nooses on the Capitol grounds to the outrageous disparity in the response of law enforcement to this violent event and the largely peaceful Black Lives Matter protests last summer.
We cannot move forward from this moment without confronting this truth and tackling it head on as a country, as a profession, and as individuals. Each and every one of us bears this responsibility.
Change is not easy and often uncomfortable but will never occur without action. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr puts it this way, “A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.”
For those who would like to learn more about getting started in promoting social justice, please join us for our virtual conference, “WSPA/ISPA Physically Distanced, but Socially Connected Conference,” on January 29th and February 5th. On January 29, Dr. Celeste Malone will teach us about Creating Culturally Affirming Environments for Minoritized Youth. And if you feel like you are running on empty, join us on February 5th when Dr. Lisa Kelly Vance will be teaching us about Self-Care in the Roaring 20s.
In closing, I would like to leave you with a quote that I recently read on Brené Brown’s blog. She wrote, “We all know that the playground isn’t safe for any of us until it’s safe for all of us.”
Happy New Year!
Tonya Klem, Ed.S, NCSP